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What are Clean Air Zones and where are they?

In 2015 the government introduced plans to improve air quality within the UK following orders by the Supreme Court to deliver measures aimed at tackling the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air.

One of the main plans was to introduce ‘Clean Air Zones’ within major UK city’s, with approximately 40,000 premature deaths thought to be linked to poor air quality according to The Royal College of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.

What is a clean air zone?

A clean air zone is defined as an area in which action is being taken to improve air quality to improve health of the public and support economical growth. Clean air zones fall into two categories:

  1. Non-charging Clean Air Zones – These are defined geographic areas used as a focus for action to improve air quality. This action can take a range of forms including, but not limited to, those set out in Section 2 but does not include the use of charge-based access restrictions.
  2. Charging Clean Air Zones – These are zones where, in addition to the above, vehicle owners are required to pay a charge to enter, or move within, a zone if they are driving a vehicle that does not meet the particular standard for their vehicle type in that zone. Clean Air Zone proposals are not required to include a charging zone.

What vehicles will this affect?

Clean Air Zone restrictions will apply to various commercial and non-compliant private vehicles.  There are four classes of Clean Air Zone however it’s up to the local authorities to decide the exact restrictions that might apply:

  1. Class A - Buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles
  2. Class B - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
  3. Class C - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs)
  4. Class D - Buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars

Are there any exemptions?

There are certain vehicles that are exempt from restrictions and charges as they meet the governments emission standards such as:

  • Buses, coaches and HGVs that meet Euro VI emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.
  • Cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) emissions standards must be exempt from any charges or restrictions.
  • Ultra-low emission vehicles with a significant zero-emission range must be exempt from and charges or restrictions as well as Fully electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
  • specialist vehicles that can never be compliant should also qualify for an exemption from a charge.

Where will the Clean Air Zones be implemented?

Currently there are 5 main cities in which Clean Air Zones are due to be implemented by 2020. These are:

  1. Birmingham
  2. Derby
  3. Leeds
  4. Nottingham
  5. Southampton  

Most cities are currently reviewing the requirements with an aim to implement the zones and restrictions by 2020 as required by law. However, Southampton has already implemented a non-charging zone and will be introducing more zones with restrictions and penalty charges coming in 2019. If your fleet will be affected by the introduction of Clean Air Zones its worth keeping an eye out for where exactly these will be implemented in the upcoming months.

Here at RAM Tracking we are looking into incorporating a Clean Air Zone feature into our vehicle tracking. This will highlight these zones allowing you to factor these and any charges into your route planning as well as a produce a report to show Clean Air Zone vehicle activity and associate a relative cost. To get a quote for our vehicle tracking solutions, simply fill out our quick and easy form here.

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